I recently started rewatching Buffy the Vampire Slayer, from the beginning, which I haven’t done in...years? A friend (Kathleen!) mentioned that she wants her BF (Jason!) to watch the show and asked for my help narrowing down which episodes from seasons 1 - 5 he should definitely, definitely watch. My first thought was that he should watch all of them, but I understand some people don’t like to make that kind of commitment, so I figured I’d TRY to narrow it down, at least. I plan on addressing each season as soon as I finish it. We’ll see if that holds up.
Out of all of the seasons of Buffy, I’d be most likely to skip episodes from the first. There’s a certain charm to the first season, all low production values and awkward acting, but if you’re short on time, you’d be OK skipping most of it, especially since so much Buffy-lore has seeped into pop culture consciousness by now.
Here are the episodes that are simply must watch in order to understand the show:
Welcome to the Hellmouth: Buffy moves to Sunnydale, meets her Watcher (Giles!), and those who will become her friends (Xander! WILLOW!) and frenemy (Cordelia). Also, Darla. Also, The Master. I think Angel shows up in this one? Probably?
The Harvest: Darla, The Master, and the Alien Bounty Hunter from The X-Files are up to shenanigans. Buffy tries to stop them.
Never Kill a Boy On the First Date: Buffy tries to date and be the Slayer at the same time. It goes about as well as you’d expect.
Angel: There’s more to Angel than would first appear but you probably already know about it by now.
Prophecy Girl: Buffy vs. The Master (FINALLY).
Here are the ones I’d watch, just because they’re fun:
Witch: Cheerleading and witchery! Also introduces Amy who will be (spoiler alert) somewhat important later.
Nightmares: This one is creepy but not the greatest. It actually reminds me more of an episode of The X-Files than Buffy.
Out of Mind, Out of Sight: Actually, same for this one. Maybe that’s why I like them. Huh. Anyway, this one is worth it because of the awesome Clea DuVall.
And finally, the ones I’d skip altogether, because YIKES:
Teacher’s Pet: Xander and a bug lady. No, thank you.
The Pack: Xander becomes a hyena and is mean to Willow. NO THANK YOU VERY MUCH.
I, Robot...you, Jane: Willow falls in love with a demon she met online, on second thought WHAT AM I SAYING WATCH THIS IMMEDIATELY. (Bonus! The introduction of Jenny Calendar).
The Puppet Show: Ventriloquism. Enough said.